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Mitch Barrett becomes embittered because his wife is allowed to die when he can't pay for the medicine she needs. The remorseful townspeople hire Mitch to be a deputy sheriff, thereby enabling him to plot an elaborate bank robbery with the help of an artist, a pickpocket, a gunslinger and a bar-girl. In conjunction with the robbery, Mitch plans to avenge himself upon every man who hindered his purchase of a single bottle of medicine costing one dollar and eighty seven cents so many years ago. Written by
My name's Mitch Barrett. I'd like to talk to you.
Don't recall askin' to listen.
You'll listen and be glad you did for twenty thousand in gold.
Mister, when you talk, you talk big!
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The last man and one dollar and eighty seven cents.
One Foot in Hell is directed by James B. Clark and written by Aaron Spelling and Sydney Boehm. It stars Alan Ladd, Don Murray, Dan O'Herlihy, Dolores Michaels, Barry Coe and Larry Gates. A CinemaScope/De Luxe Color production with music by Dominic Frontiere and cinematography by William C. Mellor.
Incensed by the circumstances which led to the death of his wife and unborn child, Mitch Barrett (Ladd) plots revenge against the whole town of Blue Springs.
Alan Ladd's last Western doesn't find him in the best of shape or on the best of form, but it's a most interesting and entertaining picture regardless. In a veer from the norm, Ladd is playing a man gone bad, fuelled by hatred and thirsting for revenge, Mitch Barrett assembles a small group of strays and ruffians and sets his plans in motion. He wins the trust of the town and operates behind the facade of the law. Along the way he is extremely callous, the value of life means nothing to him now, while inner fighting and romance destabilises the group until the big denouement arrives.
The pace sometimes sags and there's a distinct rushed feel about the final quarter (one main character annoyingly dies off screen?!), yet there's still a lot to like here. The CinemaScope production is nice to look at, there's some very good scenes such as those involving cattle and liquid fire, while the all round nasty edge to the plotting and characterisations (Julie Reynolds' back story is a shocker) keeps it from being run of the mill. It's not the big Western send off that Ladd fans would have wanted, however it's still a recommended Western to like minded genre fans. 7/10
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